Thousands of UK consumers have recently been duped into buying fake designer clothing and footwear. The goods were up for sale on focusclothing.co.uk (please DON`T visit) and on outward appearances, the website seemed genuine. It looked professional, customers could track their orders, payments were made securely and confirmation emails were sent out promptly. There were even people answering the phone.
The only problem was that goods never arrived.
The website is currently down for maintenance, the call centre numbers have been terminated and thousands of people are trying to get refunds from their credit card companies.
We are very concerned how such a company could get hold of an Internet Merchant Account (so they can debit credit cards) and a secure server (the padlock that appears on websites to indicate you are transmitting confidential information) as both normally require lots of form filling and hard proof of business credentials. That said, smart criminals are adept at getting around this type of requirement so here are some tips for spotting a fake website:
- Ask yourself whether the site is selling brand name items at too cheap a price.
- Check where the website is registered, how long it has been registered and to whom it is registered. You can search for domain name registrant information using an online search tool, such as whois.com and nominet.org.uk (for .uk domain names).
- Always check for feedback, both positive and negative. Enter the website name into a search engine
- Find out about the company you’re buying from and where it is based. Companies should supply their full geographic address, not just a post office box or mailbox number. Check the address using a search engine – you can often find out if it is just a mail forwarding service.
- Find out how to contact the company and look for a landline number. Establish if the number works or whether it is just an automated message or an answer phone. Be wary if only an email address or mobile phone number is provided.
- Beware of companies that have recently set up and have a tiny or non-existent internet footprint.
See this article for more background information:
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